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Links 1 through 5 of 5 by Shaun Green tagged teaching

In After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (1981), Alasdair MacIntyre raised the disquieting possibility that what we take to be ‘the’ language of morality now amounts to little more than a collection of verbal remains – husks from which the kernels of coherent moral beliefs have long since been removed. ‘What we possess … are the fragments of a conceptual scheme, parts which now lack those contexts from which their significance derived. We possess indeed simulacra of morality, we continue to use many of the key expressions. But we have – very largely, if not entirely – lost our comprehension, both theoretical and practical, of morality.’ The most we can do is to transpose the traditional issues of morality into the vocabulary of a barren utilitarianism.

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In 2015, such a complaint would not be delivered in such a fashion. Instead of focusing on the rightness or wrongness (or even acceptability) of the materials we reviewed in class, the complaint would center solely on how my teaching affected the student's emotional state. As I cannot speak to the emotions of my students, I could not mount a defense about the acceptability of my instruction. And if I responded in any way other than apologizing and changing the materials we reviewed in class, professional consequences would likely follow.

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Concerning the fate of higher education, the major parties have had almost nothing to say. The Labour Party is under attack for saying it might lower fees to £6000, but lowering fees would in any case only be tinkering with the situation. The Greens have the right ideas, but can’t do much. The new managerialist philistinism is spreading. Even as it claims to be keeping universities alive and well and inclusive, it is wrecking the ideal of emancipation through learning. If universities continue to go the way of the corporations, a fine system of public stewardship, evolved over the decades to educate citizens for their good and the good of society in the present and the future, will have been perverted and disfigured.

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I'm pretty sure I'll continue to teach Ultima IV. The series is simply too foundational to overlook, and I can develop new teaching strategies. But I believe we've finally reached the point where the gap separating today's generation of gamers from those of us who once drew maps on grid paper is nearly unbridgeable. These wonderful old games are still valuable, of course, and I don't mean to suggest we should toss them in the dustbin. 

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Following the jailing this week of Helen Goddard, the teacher who had a sexual relationship with a pupil, Jon Henley looks at how texting, emailing and social networking sites are radically changing the teacher-pupil relationship

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